By Mary Elder

The beginning of the semester can be a busy and daunting time as a student. It’s a time filled with trying to figure out where your classes are, what your professors expect from you, what clubs you should join, and if you are going to keep your schedule or swap some classes. Here are my 5 tips for how to survive the beginning of the semester…

  1. Do the readings – At the start of the semester it is tempting to blow off the readings of more fun things going on in DC or on campus. You’ll thank yourself later when you have built a good foundation for the rest of the semester by doing your readings in the beginning. Read now, stress a little less during midterms and finals.
  2. Get involved – The club and activity fair on campus is a great way to meet new people and try new things. Go to as many club meetings that interest you. Even if you aren’t positive it’s for you, still go to a meeting. There is no harm in trying something new.
  3. Leave the AU bubble – Here at AU, we are blessed with a great campus, however, it is easy to just get content with staying on campus all the time. Try to get off campus and do something at least once a week. DC has so much to do and see! Even if it is trying a new restaurant in Tenleytown or going for a walk, that is still something off campus.
  4. Don’t be afraid to ask for help – If you are struggling, ask for help. It is okay to admit that you aren’t getting the subject matter or that speaking up and participating in class intimidates you. If you’re transparent with your professors, they will greatly appreciate it. Also, if you are just having an all-around tough time adjusting to college, go talk to someone! You can talk to your academic advisor, RA, family, or friends. You aren’t alone. You’ll get through the adjustment period.
  5. Just be yourself – This may seem obvious, but it’s easy to get sucked into something that isn’t truly you. Stay true to who you are. There are no two people at AU who are alike. Keep that in mind when you hear people talking about the grades they get, how many internships they’ve done, or their future goals and ambitions. It’s all too easy to freak yourself out because you haven’t done as much as one of your peers.


Most importantly, have fun. College races by far too quickly. Take the time to appreciate where you are and what you’re doing. The beginning of the semester is always a time of nerves and excitement. Things will get much easier once you establish a schedule and everything is less new.